Snacking on mini-reviews: Iron Gold & Batman!

Today is a very monumental day.

Why, you ask? Well, you see… I actually have reviews written!! And I’m posting them (near) the month the book was read!! I haven’t written reviews in foreverrrrr and I’ve been super excited for this post so I can screech about books to you guys again! Because I haven’t done that in a while. *hides* I also have a full-length review coming on Love, Hate & Other Filters sometime! omg I know WHO AM I

The first one to start with, is, of course: IRON GOLD because I loved it so much I want to cry okay bye.

I buddy-read the with my dear friend Kat @ Life and Other Disasters, and it was the best! We read at a pretty similar pace, and we exchanged thoughts pretty consistently despite the time difference which was great! ❤

My review will be completely SPOILER-FREE for this book and not very many spoilers for the previous books? (But I recommend skipping to the conclusion part if you haven’t read this series!)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Goldis the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

  • The action! Was! Non-stop!
  • Seriously, there was so much happening, even my short attention span had to pay attention okay
  • SEVRO IS MY CHILD and I don’t care if he’s 30-something now. MY CHILD FOREVER.
  • LYRIA IS MY NEWFOUND CHILD. AND LIAM. My family from Lagalos deserve the world ❤
  • Seriously why is everyone treated so badly tho, I just want to shield my babies k?
  • Real life issues tackled like prejudice against groups of people because of what other people from that group has done, discrimination against less privileged classes of people
  • I FELT MANY THINGS. Heartbreak! Sadness! Terror! Disgust! Anger (so much anger) All the good things!!
  • Victra is still my bae (but she low-key needs to chill 😂)
  • Mustang has to make so many hard decisions and :(((
  • Darrow, too! (Though major side-eye to his stupid decisions)
  • Volga is so precious and pure ❤
  • I LOVE Cassius okay 
  • I want me a fox named Sophocles
  • The technology talk probably flew over my head half the time, but it was still SO COOL
  • THAT CLIFFHANGER

Wow this review is utterly unhelpful and just me fawning over the characters.

No one is surprised.

  • I’m not going to say in term of plot or anything, but CHARACTERS because ahhhh LYSANDER.
  • He killed me. One of the most fickle characters ever, a child in a man’s body who, truth be told, should’ve died 10 years ago. His POV was one of the most frustrating out of all of them, and, not gonna lie, it made me less interested in reading his chapters
  • Like, his self-righteousness and superiority complex is honestly so frustrating? His tendency to also do the exact OPPOSITE of what he should do also drove me insane
  • Especially after that ONE THING THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED BUT THAT STILL KILLS ME
  • Also Ephraim, dude. Just ’cause bad things happened, it doesn’t give you the right to do bad things to other people or have other people become the casualty of your stupidity. Fix your mistakes, PUH LEASE.
  • Even with this, though, like can I just 👏 Pierce Brown for creating such nuanced characters??
  • UM THAT CLIFFHANGER KILLED ME OKAY

The first half of this series is AMAZING, and this book definitely lived up to the expectations set from the past books, even though there were certain characters *cough* Lysander *cough* I didn’t like as much! There’s also tons of action, political tension and characters doing stupid things… all the fun stuff!

If you want to read a more in-depth review, I recommend checking out Kat’s review which was super insightful! 🙂

But basically: go read this.

(But also you could wait for the other books to be released because if you’re a gold fish like me it’s going to be painful to remember events. Thankfully the fifth book is being released later this year though!!)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

  • SUCH A SHORT BOOK. Wow. Bless. I finished this in like, a day and didn’t have to sacrifice my soul for once! What magic.
  • MARIE LU.(Her writing couldn’t save this book though. Unfortunately.)
  • Action-y parts were fun to read! because the rest of the book was boring
  • ……
  • Bruce’s friends! I forget their names though.

I’M SORRY, THAT’S ALL I HAVE..

  • So short, BUT SO LONG. Like it’s a short book overall, but the majority of the book was Bruce drooling over intrigued by Madeleine and it just felt SO DARN LONG. And boring. Ughghghghgh.
  • But also it was a bit ~too~ short???? Where is the development? Where is the anything? I don’t know, there wasn’t enough time, man.
  • I’m so contradictory darnit.
  • Speaking of which, BRUCE. My boy. As sweet you are with your naivety and all, WHY are you so dumb. Just why.
  • Like:

Everyone: Madeleine is manipulative and will use you and lie to you. STAY AWAY.
Bruce: But what if she’s telling the truth tho?????
Me: -__-

  • I wasn’t.. that surprised by the ending??? The end part was probably the most interesting part to read and I did like reading it, but the predictability, man. It might just be me, though. I think I’ve read too much of the same kind of twists. Not a bad thing!! Others could totally be shocked, it was still well-written and not a flaw of the book!! (Just my flaw??)
  • Madeleine fell flat. She had the potential to be super awesome, and maybe under different circumstances I would have loved her, but through Bruce’s POV? NOPE. She’s under the guise of being ~super complex and special~ (NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE) and I was basically indifferent to her and the interactions between her and Bruce. Oops.
  • I want to simultaneously slap Bruce TO WAKE HIM UP and also pat him on the head and give him a hug? Poor kid’s too naive but also too dedicated to being ~good~. He should go chill and eat ice cream. So should Madeleine.
  • Character development?? Where art thou? I CAN’T SEE YOU. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • There was plot! But it got lost as swiftly as Bruce got lost in Madeleine’s swoony and calculating dark eyeballs.
  • What the heck did this review become

I’m so salty omg forgive me.

I liked…. a few things? Mostly that it was short and the author is Marie Lu. But, you know. That counts.

But truthfully I don’t think you’re missing out on very much if you don’t read this? But that’s my very small, inconsequential opinion because you could still enjoy this very much! DON’T LET ME STOP YOU.

But personally I’m super disappointed I didn’t love it more, especially since Wonder Woman was one of my favourite reads. (GO READ IT GO READ IT.) I’d recommend reading Marie Lu’s other books, Warcross or The Young Elites or Legend, instead, those ones were more ones I enjoyed!

HI DID YOU READ THE RED RISING SERIES YET CAUSE YOU SHOULD.Will you shout about Sevro and Darrow and Victra and everything with me???

Have you read Batman? I’M SORRY FOR MY SALTINESS. 😂 Did you enjoy it, or did you find yourself disappointed like me? (Join me in my saltiness, I’m scared to be alone.)

Do you like these kinds of mini-reviews? It’s been so long since I’ve done a review, I low-key don’t know how to write one anymore???

LET’S CHAT BOOKS! What are you currently reading?? Also how was your January/ how is your February going? I had a ton of Valentine’s Day posts planned for this month and I’ve gotten to posting 0% of them oops, but I hope you guys have been doing well since I last spoke to you!

How to capture readers’ hearts A Darker Shades of Magic style

A Conjuring of Light is OUT!! Ahhhhh so many people have already started reading it, and I am DYING to read it, guys. UGH. I’m currently in the middle of my re-read of the the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, which is the only reason I haven’t picked up ACOL yet. #bookwormstruggles And I absolutely LOVE IT but I am so ready for the third book. I can’t wait to read it so I can do a joint review (… more like fangirling post, probably…) of books 2 and 3!

THAT ASIDE. I wanted to do something V.E. Schwab/Shades of Magic series related, which is why we’re here, as you can tell from the title of the post. I recently finished re-reading the first book of the series (and I loved it so much akskjfjkgnjchskkkansr) which is what this post is based on, essentially. Reading A Darker Shade of Magic was absolutely amazing, I loved it even more than I already did if that’s even possible. Pretty much none of my feelings changed except I loved Lila a lot more than I did the first time haha.

But I digress! I’m terrible at staying on track, oh my god. I suppose you can call this a review of sorts–although I already wrote one the first time I read this–but simply put: A Darker Shades of Magic is a lovely, torturous device of a book designed to crush and capture your hearts. I’m warning you. But also pushing you to read it immediately if you haven’t already because what bookworm doesn’t want their heart crushed? Psh, brb as I try to repair my fragile heart…

So alas, finally, let’s get into how to capture readers’ hearts A Darker Shade of Magic style! And don’t worry, this is fully SPOILER-FREE. You’re welcome, to the belated readers who have not read this yet. 😉

how-to-capture-readers-hearts-adsom-style

1. Create multiple worlds with vivid descriptions and magic.

It is an absolute given, if a book has multiple worlds and magic that you have captured at least one poor bookworm heart. (Mine, obviously.) Not to mention having vivid descriptions that make me feel as if I’m IN the book without having any threat of dying and other mild inconveniences?? SOLD. Who wouldn’t love that, honestly.

ADSOM reference: MULTIPLE LONDONS. Is that genius or what? Okay, so Grey London (‘Dull London’), White London (‘Creepy London’) and Black London (‘Dead London’) are not exactly tourist destinations* but Red London is to die for (!!) and nonetheless, they’re all the sign of amazing world-building.

adsom-londons-map

Even at night, the river shone red. As Kell stepped from the bank of one London onto the bank of another, the black slick of the Thames was replaced by the warm, steady glow of the Isle. It glittered like a jewel, lit from within, a ribbon of constant light unraveling through Red London. A source. A vein of power.

LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL DESCRIPTION.

*I mean, if I could just stop by them all as some kind of invisible side character for a while and be able to escape at a moment’s notice, I would totally do it just because they sound so EPIC, albeit very very dangerous.

2. A subtle, but swoon-worthy ship, YES.

Slow-burn romances are one of my absolute FAVOURITES. The feeling you get, reading a book and that warm feeling you get when you know two characters like eachother but they’re dancing around their feelings and also the banter and the sweet moments that slowly develop the relationship… so many emotions ahhhh.

ADSOM reference: Not even a spoiler because everyone can see this from a mile away: Kell and Lila are such an OTP. Their banter is adorable and the fact that they both have each other’s backs and are constantly saving each other is just so awesome and they just work so well together and agh no words. Such a perfect ship. What’s even better is that it doesn’t overshadow the main story at all, and instead is the perfect addition to the rest of the story.

“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time they were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila felt like a pin in Kell’s world. One he was sure to snag on.”

SHIP. My heart is SO attached to this.

3. Have the characters stab all the things?!

Disclaimer: I am not crazy or sadistic when I say this! LOL. It will: a) Create awesome action scenes, b) show off your character’s fighting skills, c) be lots of fun to read (aka very very stressful because your character will most likely get hurt) and d) create much tension and suspense.

ADSOM reference: Now I can’t give away too much because #spoilers but let me just say, there was A LOT OF STABBING. And magicking with the aim to kill. So. I mentioned this in my first review, but A Darker Shade of Magic is not for the squeamish people! But if you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind stabbing and fight scenes, you know how EPIC a story can be with the right battle scenes. Omg. This book had so much stabbing and fighting and aghhhhh it totally made my heart race but it was SO GOOD.

Pretty accurate depiction of my own heart tbh when I'm reading...
Pretty accurate depiction of my own heart tbh when I’m reading…

4. Much sass and banter!

This may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but trust me when I say that sass and banter can be one of the BEST things ever. Besides, it can also: a) develop character (sassy pirates and princes, yes please) b) create a deep fondness in the reader for the characters because banter = fun amidst pain and c) make Analee very very happy.

ADSOM reference: There are so many little quips from the characters that I loved and made the reading experience so much fun! I lived for the quips and lines from Rhy, Kell and Lila omg. So perfect.

“Delilah Bard,” she said. “We’ve met before. And you looked worse.”
Rhy laughed silently. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
Rhy broke into his perfect smile. “I like this one,” he said to Kell. “Can I borrow her?”
“You can try,” said Lila, raising a brow. “But you’ll be a prince without his fingers.”

GO LILA!

5. Have an epic bromance.

Bromances are very very important. *nods* They can make you either a) fall in love with the characters in said bromance or b) make you love said characters even more. In both situations, a beautifully written bromance = powerful emotions rivaled only by chocolate (of course) and perhaps a romantic ship. 😉

ADSOM reference: Kell and Rhy are one of the most amazing bromances everrrrrrr!! There is just something so beautiful and so adorable and so heartwarming about brotherly ties, and theirs was no exception.

Rhy sighed (…) [before he finally said] “There is nothing I would not give you.”
Kell’s chest ached. “I know.”
“You are my brother. My closest friend.”
“I know.”
“Then put an end to this foolishness, before I do.”
Kell managed a small, tired smile. “Careful, Rhy,” he said. “You’re beginning to sound like a king.”
Rhy’s mouth quirked. “One day I will be. And I need you there beside me.”
Kell smiled back. “Believe me. There’s no place I’d rather be.” It was the truth.

MY HEART. Captured and crushed by these two. ❤


So! That’s all I have for this post aha. Let me finish this off by saying: y’all should go read the Shades of Magic series IMMEDIATELY if you haven’t already. (#nopressure psh) And let me brb, need to go piece back my heart in preparation for ACOL to break it again. Ahem.
No, but really, I hope you enjoyed this post! ❤ A Darker Shade of Magic is an amazing book, and the series only gets better from there. If you’ve read this book; what do you think on my tips on how to capture a reader’s heart ADSOM style? Have you read the rest of the series? (No spoilers for ACOL please!) If you haven’t read the series, do you plan on it? (The right answer is yes, btw.) (Jk.) Let me know your thoughts!
Happy Friday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Amazing characters, a hate-to-love romance, and war // Why I love The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski

Hello everyone! 🙂 Disappeared for a few days from the blog, aha. So I had other plans for posts, but I haven’t done a book review in SUCH a long time! I have such a tremendous pile of them now I guess I’m scared to approach them. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it is a HUGE pile! Not TBR-huge (nothing’s going to beat that, probably) but huge when I think about my books-read vs books reviewed ration and when I see everyone else’s reviewing queue consisting of, like, max, 7-10 books. ANYWAY. Moving on! The point: I’m doing a review! On a series, in fact. I read the third book in this trilogy pretty recently, but the other two books were read quite a while ago and I thought it might be easier to just do a series review. I won’t be getting too much into the specifics of each book, though, so no spoilers! Let’s get into it!

Winner's Curse Series Review

Check out the books on Goodreads: The Winner’s Curse | The Winner’s Crime | The Winner’s Kiss

What I Loved

  • KESTREL KESTREL KESTREL omg. She is one of my absolute favourite book characters–with such good reason. She’s such a strong character, and not in the traditional fighting and battling department (as we see nowadays). No, the thing I loved about her was the fact that she relied on only her brains. She was not thoroughly trained in the art of sword-fighting and etc (in fact she was not good at all) but that did not mean she was not able to protect herself, nor was she a weaker person for it. Her strength was found in her brains, and in her resilience and determination. She did not give up, did not stop fighting, and her sass thoughhhhh. All around love her, honestly.
  • Can I get an IRL Arin, please??!!
  • Seriously, though. He’s so awesome, albeit the fact that he made terrible decisions sometimes. But don’t they all?? I may absolutely adore Kestrel but Arin is no less of an important character. His love towards his people, and what he does to save them is so sweet and his love towards Kestrel!! That brings me to my next point which is:
  • THE ROMANCE. Agh. So so cute. And amazing. And sweet. And heartbreaking. Did I praise it enough yet? Basically, it was one of the best things ever. The hate-to-love trope appears in this one, and it was so well done! You can see, through each of the characters’ thoughts, how they slowly go from hatred to genuinely care and concern for each other, and the uncertainty behind what those feelings entail (primarily in the first book). My heart suffered so so much because of this, with us being left with a will-they-won’t-they situation throughout the series.
  • The feelssssssss. Ahhhh there were so many. My heart was just a puddle, basically. It melted. (Rip)
  • The excitement! There was so much at stake here and I loved the thrill of reading all that happened. There wasn’t a single book in the series that didn’t have me sitting in anticipation of what happened next. The endings of the first two books always left me on such a cliffhanger, though!!
  • Oh but I LOVED THE ENDING SO SO MUCH. It was so so perfect.
  • But to finish the characters: Can I just say how much I adored Roshar??? We meet him first in the second book, I believe, but it’s really in the third book where I fell in love with his character. His and Arin’s relationship is just such an amazing bromance and ahhhhhh I love it.
  • But also the world is so fabulous! I loved how Marie Rutkoski made us really part of the world, and the politics, the description, the set up of everything made it a really great experience.
  • Her writing is also so great and I would totally read anything else she puts out. (Speaking of, when will she do it I NEED MORE)
  • But the amount of heartbreak it took to get there oh my lord.
  • Basically this series: Betrayal! Intrigue! Strategy! On how to kill people and make the life of the emperor miserable! All the good stuff. What are you waiting for?

What I Disliked (very very briefly because the list is minimal)

  • The pacing did feel off for me in certain books. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but although the books were very concise and everything and the pacing were generally very fast and fit well, there was just something… off, sometimes. But honestly not a big deal at all.
  • That is literally it.
  • There may have been more things but they’re so insignificant I can’t remember them…

Final thoughts

Basically this trilogy is one of the best of ever and you MUST read it if you haven’t already! Go. Do it. The world is amazing, the writing is so good, you will (most probably) love the characters, and the story is just so interesting. And, also, just in case you were curious for the individual ratings:

AKA I LOVED THIS SERIES. ❤ ❤


So that’s it for this (kind of short) series review! Have you read this series? Are you a fan of the hate-to-love trope or no? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Reasons why I would be the worst protagonist in a YA fantasy novel EVER!

I love books. They have wonderful characters who you want to squish and keep away from harm forever and (preferably) relatable, realistic, and flawed characters. Right?! And although there are the groups of them that make horrible decisions and get into huge messes… generally they’re either a) able to get out of the situation or b) they’re just perfect and end up suffering minor consequences or something. And many people hate on them for either their decisions or whatever foolish mistakes they make, but let’s be real here; I would totally be the worst one of them all. Why? I’m glad you asked! (That’s totally not the whole point of this post or anything.)

Reasons why i could never be a fantasy character

1. I can be TERRIBLE at making decisions.

Which, no biggie, right? Sure, in real life it’s just a minor inconvenience perhaps–I mean, I’ve survived my whole life making decisions, so it’s all good? But those decisions are, say, should I be productive today or should I watch Netflix? (Netflix, of course.) Should I eat another chocolate bar? (No, I shouldn’t. But I will.) OR WHAT BOOK DO I READ NEXT?!?? As you can tell by my extreme use of capital letters, this is a very important and very #stressful decision to make.

So now, I ask you, how on earth am I suppose to choose between whether I should go fight to the death or stay in the comfort of my home and wait for others to protect me??? Or… if I had to choose between Jem or Will??! Or any two male love interests, really. It’s so easy to make fun of characters in books, but I would be so much worse in their situation, I bet LOL.

2. I am greatly allergic to anything that might cause my death.

And you know, seeing how 99% of the time in fantasy novels, the main/secondary characters are constantly at the risk of being KILLED (or they actually are killed… *sob*) I believe my allergies would flare up greatly if I were in their shoes. I’ve never had the symptoms before, but knives, arrows, weapons, all terrible for my allergies and always present in the midst of a war or something. *sigh* They have no consideration. Not all of us can be fierce assassins like Celaena or courageous wizards like the golden trio and company. Ahem. By not all of us I mean *me* because, um. Allergies, remember? Very deadly. *nods*

3. I’d probably end up dying for the stupidest reason anyway.

Seriously, knowing me, just watch me trip and end up on my face, on the ground, during the middle of a dance or something. And falling unconscious. And thereby missing whatever attack or battle or something that happened next because I’m on the ground and accidentally dying. (Is that possible? Sure.) But serious question: How are YA protagonists all so graceful on their feet??? I WANT TO KNOW. So that I’m prepared, obviously, and can train to not trip and fall unconscious in the middle of a dance floor. Because I’m also allergic to that, by the way.

4. Or I’d die of fear before the battle even begins, tbh.

I would like to think that I’m super brave and totally capable of fighting off, I don’t know, Voldemort or an army of deal people, or something, but ummmmmmmm. Actually being up there, having to fight? Even after loads of training, that wouldn’t prepare me for the shock and actual threat in battle. It is totally possible for me to faint or something. (How are YA protagonists so chill with the whole battle thing, though?? Sure, you’ve had training but how do they not collapse from fear? I mean, that would probably detract from the whole amazing-ness and suspense of the battle and all the stabbing and killing that I only like when I’m not hypothetically imagining myself in that situation, lol, but it’s a natural reaction! It’s totally acceptable during a time like that.)

Except then you remeber that fantasy novel characters often have no parents....
Except then you remember that YA characters often have parents that are MIA.

5. I lack any sort of skill that would be useful.

Do I have magical powers a la Harry Potter or Grisha? No. Am I kick-butt Shadowhunter or fighter of any sort? Nope. Am I able to pick locks or be super stealthy a la Kaz and Inej? No. What can you do, then? You ask. Well I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I lacked any sort of skill! I mean, sure I can… read? And blog? And… spend too much money like a pro, but none of those would be useful at all so basically my book would be filled with me trying to keep up with the actual helpful people and trying to feel useful and special. Ahem.

6. I hardly have any tolerance for pain.

Well, that’s a kind of lie. As any girl can relate, I’m sure, those monthly appearances are dreadful. But do I survive those silently and courageously? Of course not! I can’t withstand a papercut without groaning, like. What if I got a… sword-cut?? (That doesn’t sound right.. maybe just stab wound is better.) I would probably give up. Do you know the number of times my fictional friends have gotten hurt?? If I felt bad for them while reading, I doubt it will compare to my own self-pity if I got stabbed, to be honest. 😀 But can you blame me, really?

7. I would whine about not having food.

Not all the time, but most of the time, the protagonists hardly get food! You can take many things away from me but not my food (or my books)! How the characters go so long at a time without any food astounds me and causes me to want to run away in horror just thinking about it. I get super cranky and am in a terrible mood if I don’t get enough food and it’s just so good why would I want to go without it? To be fair, I suppose the main characters don’t have a choice really, but currently, as this is all hypothetical (thank god) I do! And basically, I’m not prepared to leave food guys. If I was a YA character and had to, I’d probably groan about how I’m so hungry 70% of the time. The other 30% would probably be for water, which would increase to 50%, and soon the whole book will be filled with inner monologues about how I’m hallucinating that my enemy has a head made of cake or something.

8. I would be way too gullible.

One of the most anxiety-filled moments (or perhaps frustration-filled for some people) when reading a book is when the main character is walking into a trap and you know it. The whole time you’re either praying you’re wrong or that they stay alive (if you like them) or cursing them for being so stupid and naive (if you do not). Either one. In any other circumstance perhaps I’d be in the first group but there’s only so many times a person can make the same mistake, right? I mean, of course, I’m familiar with all the tricks used to lure the main character into a trap, but I imagine there are probably a lot more that I’m not aware of that may be used on me–and like I said, I can be very gullible. And tempted by things like food (especially if I’m forced to not have enough of it throughout the book) Oh and books of course. I should hope there are no people aiming to hurt me reading this post because I’m revealing sensitive information here!

9. I am not fond of killing people.

Yay, you may all rejoice in the fact that I am not, in fact, crazy, and actually, do not enjoy killing people. LOL. (Nor do I have the ability, fyi.) Problem is, one of the best parts of a fantasy novel is the conflict and the battles, which means YA characters in fantasy novels have some inborn ability to fight like a boss. (Or they trained and learned to fight, but who likes extra work?) Basically, it means most of the time, they kill their enemies quite brutally and… I probably would not be able to stomach that which also means I would be useless in battle (if my lack of skill with a weapon didn’t already prove this) and thereby useless to the whole quest-plot-adventure-thing because I DO NOT FIGHT.

10. Not interested in, you know, dying.

Most YA characters have something to lose–actually, human beings in general always have something to lose. And then they have something to fight for, something at stake. Their dedication and their strength in face of difficulties is inspiring and fun to read about because it leads to #battles but in real life? Having to do the same thing as them? Yeah…. no, thank you! I’m not as selfless as book characters. Few people are when it comes down to it. Book characters have the liberty of doing whatever, sacrificing whatever because they are fictional and will live forever even if they die. (*gasp*) Me, as a human with A) a will to live and B) no willingness to die and C) very selfish motives, I don’t need to think so honorably towards some random fantasy world for the sake of a hypothetical situation. Wow, I’m making this a lot more complicated than it has to be. I DON’T WANT TO DIE. The end.


Wow, this was a slightly depressing thread to walk upon, but, well, you asked! (Hush, this post was not my idea. I wrote this up at like 1 or 2 AM in the morning and I blame that for my utter nonsensical rambling.)
But I think that’s all the rambling I have for this post! This post puts me in such a bad light, haha. Let me know your thoughts in the comments; do you think I’d be or you’d be a good protagonist in a YA fantasy? Can you relate to any of these or do you perhaps have any additions to mention? I’d love to know! Hope you enjoy your Monday. 🙂

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Anticipated Fantasy Books For The Second Half of The Year–Why is time so slow? | Top Ten Tuesday #34

How is it Tuesday again already? I swear, time passes by SO FAST nowadays. (Except when it comes to books, apparently, since it’s taking FOREVER for my anticipated books to be released. *SIGH*)

Anyway, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year (since we did a topic about the releases we were excited about for the first half of 2016 back in the beginning of the year) Feel free to tweak it how you want to — like most anticipated fantasy for the second half of 2016 or debut authors. Whatever you want!

There are literally so many books being released in the next months that I am dying to read, so I decided to narrow it down to the top ten fantasy books I’m looking forward to–and there are STILL SO MANY I am dying. But whatever. I would die to have these books. Except not because I’d probably miss chocolate and just general good things in life too much for that. But you know what I mean.

Everyone knows lists are fabulous, so I won’t deprive you of them any longer! Let’s do this.

Top 10 Tuesday 3

1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (July 5th 2016)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely ADORE Victoria Schwab’s books. And I’ve heard so many amazing things about This Savage Song and I’m seriously dying to read it. GIMME. I have nothing else to say.

This Savage Song

2.  Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (August 9th 2016)

I haven’t read much (read: any) books by Jay Kristoff but SO MANY people adore his writing, especially with the release of Illuminae. Not to mention Nevernight seems so cool! Assassins, intrigue, and sounds of murder. What could be better? (I’m completely sane, I promise.)

Nevernight

3. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (August 30th 2016)

Sooo like most people I thought An Ember in the Ashes was a standalone? But nope! Can’t say I’m disappointed though. Can’t wait to see what this book’s like! ❤

A Torch Against the Night

4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (September 26th 2016)

AHHHH if you haven’t checked out this book yet you DEFINITELY should because it sounds amazing! Just read the synopsis. *nods* I must have this. I MUST.

Three Dark Crowns

5. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (September 27th 2016)

Oh, did I ever happen to mention that I LOVED Six of Crows and Leigh Bardugo’s books? No? Well, I do. Six of Crows is absolutely LIFE for me (along with all my other favourite books of course) and I NEED CROOKED KINGDOM. NEED IT. Now. I-would-trade-chocolate-for-it need. (Big deal, you guys.)

Crooked Kingdom

6. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (September 27th 2016)

I don’t think I’ve actually expressed how much I enjoyed Rosamund Hodge’s books! Well, technically I’ve only read Cruel Beauty from her, but I do plan on reading Crimson Bound soon enough. I hope. Either way her newest book seems so good. I will definitely be picking it up! (Just look at that cover, people. How can you resist?)

Bright Smoke Cold Fire

7. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan (October 4th 2016)

Ah, Rick Riordan. Always popping up with new books. I definitely don’t mind though! I read and really enjoyed The Sword of Summer last year, and I am totally looking forward to continuing with the journey.

The Hammer of THor

8. A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray (November 1st 2016)

THIS COVER GIVES ME LIFE. Omg it’s so beautiful and I want this book so so much. That is all. (GO READ THIS series if you haven’t already though!! If only because the cover is literally BEGGING to be picked up. But also because the story is great!)

A Million Worlds With You

9. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (November 8th 2016)

If you didn’t know already, I really love the Lunar Chronicles! (It’s seriously the best.) Marissa Meyer is such a gifted writer. So a book describing the Queen of Hearts pre-Wonderland? YES PLEASE.

Heartless

10. Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (December 13th 2016)

And last but not least, Crystal Storm which is releasing in December! (*sob* Why December??!) The fourth book in the series, Frozen Tides left me totally hanging and begging for more and I’m honestly dying for this book. I suppose I’m lucky there will be so many other good books to keep me occupied before it’s released?? XD The series started off as meh, but really got better. Woo!

Crystal Storm

OH, and I just HAVE to add this one.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (July 31st 2016)

Do I even have to explain anything for this one?! Didn’t think so. Good. Because I have no words other than alagla;hndgrgnalsajflkdjf complete gibberish. Ahem. So excited!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

Honorable mentions (Pretty much most of the other books I’m looking forward to that I wasn’t able add to the top ten): Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (September 6th 2016), Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (September 27th 2016), Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch (September 20th 2016), The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (October 11th 2016), Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (November 22nd 2016), A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (September 20th 2016)


SO MANY BOOKS. So many books are being released in the second half of 2016 (a lot in September, I’ve noticed!) and I’m so giddy for them all to be released! Apart from these fantasy books, there are so many other books being released as well–don’t me started on all the contemporary books I also want to read! That’s a list for a different day. (I have too many books on my TBR SOMEONE STOP ME.)

So now tell me! Which of these books are you looking forward to the most? What other books are you looking forward to that aren’t on this list? Feel free to leave your TTT link below as well, I’d love to stop by (and add more books to my never-ending TBR pile)!

Happy Tuesday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

 

Fictional Settings I Wish Were Real | Seriously, I REALLY wish these were real.

Hello. It’s me.

(Sorry, I feel like this post warranted that. It’s been so long, and it’s so old, I know! But I had to. SHHH you know you do it too.)

I’m back today with another post, you guys! Be proud of me. I’m not exactly sure what inspired this topic, but I was making a few header graphics for some of my other planned posts and then suddenly I saw a picture that just made this idea pop into my head. Be prepared for a severe case of wanderlust guys, for these fictional places! I mean, come on, who DOESN’T want to go to these places?

Let’s do this! I apologize in advance if this post causes your wanderlust to go overboard and like me, you end up sobbing because these places don’t exist.

Fictional settings I wish were real

1. Hogwarts (Harry Potter)

YOU ALL SAW THIS COMING. I mean, come on! Even people who haven’t read Harry Potter (ps you must definitely go fix that mistake asap please and thank you) wouldn’t mind going to the utter fabulousness that is Hogwarts. And other magical places. (Diagon Alley, anyone? I WANT TO GET MY WAND and magic thanks.)

Hogwarts 2
LOOK AT IT!! ❤ ❤

2. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)

Hasn’t anyone else dreamed of visiting Narnia once upon a time?! I mean, come on. IT’S NARNIA peoples. ❤

narnia-map

3. Camp Half Blood/Jupiter (Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus)

Rick Riordan’s books have always had a place in my heart, and it’s definitely a certain that Camp Half Blood found a place there too! IT’S JUST THE BEST. Someone take me there, please? *heart eyes*

Camp Half Blood

4. Luna, New Beijing (The Lunar Chronicles)

The settings in the Lunar Chronicles sound so cool! And I SO wouldn’t mind visiting Luna or New Beijing. Seriously, why can’t these places be real?!

Luna

5. Panem (The Hunger Games)

I think it makes sense to wish this was real, right? I mean, war’s over and everything and Panem just sounds SO COOL. And really pretty? Are there any tours available, ’cause sign me up please. (Yes, I realize Panem is FICTIONAL *sadly* but maybe the places where the movie took place? ‘Cause those were super great. Ahem.)

Panem

6. Ravka (Grishaverse)

Ahh, Leigh Bardugo and her Grishaverse. Can never get tired of it, really. Especially now that we have the amazing Six of Crows and the books in that series! Ravka’s world just seems so cool. And I know it’s based off Russia too (which is already on my to-visit-someday list because RUSSIA.)

Ravka

7. Trollus (Stolen Songbird)

I haven’t squealed about this book and the series enough, tbh. There is SO MUCH going on for this book and oh my gosh, the world building is most definitely one of the best parts!! Trollus just seems SO AMAZING (I’m saying that for literally every place on this list, but SHH. They’re all so amazing.) and I really want to go visit! It sounds really dark and cold and everything but beautiful with lights and hidden treasures. ❤

Trollus
I found this on Pinterest and it LOOKS SO PRETTY

8. The Fae Courts (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

If there was one thing Sarah J. Maas didn’t blotch in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it’s the world and descriptions! I absolutely adore the idea of the Courts (Spring Court, Summer Court,etc.–SO BEAUTIFUL) and it would be SO COOL if they were real (apart from the part where there’s a whole war going on… details, details.)

acotar-map1

9. Khorasan (The Wrath and the Dawn)

Set in the middle-east, The Wrath and the Dawn duology is probably one of my favourite books, for like EVER. Seriously, I love this book series SO MUCH. (So basically, if you haven’t read this yet, LEAVE. AND DO SO IMMEDIATELY. Ahem.) And the setting was so cool!! I would definitely not mind visiting someday… (except I can’t *sob*)

TWATD Map

10. Primoria (Snow Like Ashes)

Primoria

Can I just squeal about how much I adore the world in Snow Like Ashes? It’s based on the seasons, and there are 4 kingdoms (each based on a season) and it’s just asjksfhkdhgolehtogrehgaernglekg. Seriously. I have no words. The descriptions and everything was all SO PRETTY AND MAGICAL. I just really want to go. Pretty please? PLEASEEE.

Bonus: Multi-Londons (Shades of Magic)

london-map

I suppose you can count this technically as a real setting, because, hello? LONDON? But this world as a whole is (to my dismay) fiction so. SOB. Who doesn’t want to visit multiple Londons? Red London, Grey London, White London. They’re all SO COOL and I severely want to visit!!!


So.

*offers you tissue box*
Anyone else facing the struggles of being (too) attached to fiction? I am seriously SO SAD that these places don’t exist for us bookworms to visit… (With the exception of Hogwarts, kind of, since we can visit at Universal Studios? BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME *sobs harder* [I’m totally okay, guys. Totally sane. I’m usually not this emotional, sorry. 😛 But can you blame me?]
ANYWAY. Join me in my sobbing wanderlusting! (That sounds kind of weird..) Which of these places do YOU wish were real the most? (Obviously ALL of them, but if you had to pick. (a horror, I know! I apologize in advance.) Which of these books have you read? TALK TO ME, please. (I’m very desperate and it clearly shows.) Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! ❤
Until the Next Meal, Analee

Reasons why fantasy is one of the best genres ever | Top Ten Tuesday #33

Hola mi amigos! Don’t ask what that was, I have no idea. (My long-ago Dora days are kicking in.) Anyway, it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve participated in a Top Ten Tuesday, and it’s about time, don’t you think? Making lists is one of my favourite things to do, so I’ve been quite sad that I have been depriving myself and the world of said lists. Ahem. ANYWAY. Rambling a bit there.

This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Reasons I Love Xcould be a certain book, character, author, your indie bookstore, a fandom, a tv show, reading, a hobby, a genre. Honestly anything you want to gush about.” As you know, I went with reasons why I love the fantasy genre! Let’s do this.

Top 10 Tuesday 3

1. It lets us escape into a different world.

Some people can argue that this applies to other genres as well (pretty much anything that’s fiction when you think about it) but I feel like it applies most strongly to fantasy? It generally tends to actually create a whole new world which is what makes it so magical and intriguing to read about. Sometimes reality just doesn’t cut it, you know? Whenever an escape from reality is required, fantasy is always such a good choice. What better way to escape than into a world completely different from yours?

Hogwarts
I can’t be the only one who loves Harry Potter because of the world, right?

2. It takes us on an adventure.

It’s not even necessarily a physical adventure, though that’s what it is most of the time. It might be an emotional adventure too, where the events lead to an emotional roller coaster (that happened so many times… my feels were overwhelmed). We love to read books because of all the feelings we go through and going on an adventure alongside the characters definitely brings out all sorts of emotions, am I right? *cough* Percy Jackson *cough* Harry Potter *pretty much all my favourite fantasy books*

3. We get to use our imaginations.

One of the best parts of the fantasy genre is the amount of freedom authors have to spin their story. No boundaries of real life, nothing but their own creativity and it’s SO GREAT to read. There’s just such a thrill in being carried into a story of someone else’s imagination, in a completely new (and fictitious) world. So many new ideas, and tons of creativity. How can you not fall in love with all that?

dragon-fantasy-4
DRAGONS. (Unfortunately they don’t exist in real life, soooo.)

4. Childhood memories

This seems like an odd reason with no correlation whatsoever, but remember those times back when you were a child, and you believed in everything, from fairytales to unicorns to dragons to fairies? Now, grown up we no longer believe in such things, but fantasy is now allowing us to go back to those times when we thought they existed, and read about them. Maybe this isn’t such a huge reason but for me at least, whenever *I* hear of a book about fairies, I can’t help but remember those days… 😉 There’s just something that feels so… I don’t know. Child-like, when it comes to fantasy despite it being the opposite of such. (Please tell me I’m not alone here?? I feel crazy right now. o.O)

5. There is a strong emotional message/theme.

You know how people enjoy contemporary a lot of the time because they’re able to relate and sympathize to the characters and their situation? How there’s a strong emotional theme (to the good books, at least)? Well, that’s not only for the contemporary folks. In books of the fantasy genre, there are tons that despite their out-of-worldness and fantastical elements, actually have an emotional theme that we’re able to relate to. That attachment, paired alongside the intriguing idea of a different world, is what makes fantasy such a gem for me. It’s like such a great mix between relatable and unrelatable? If that makes sense.

6. It puts things into perspective.

I mean, I suppose a lot of books across a variety of genres does so (considering how the characters’ lives always seem to be so much more worse and dramatic than ours in real life..) but especially in the fantasy genre. I mean, no matter how bad your life might be, when you compare to the lives of all the suffering characters in books, I’m sure it won’t seem as bad. Am I right? Like, you try comparing your life with Celaena Sardothien in the first book… um yeah. I doubt your life’s that bad. Just saying. 😛 (You should be glad, tbh.)

7. Options are endless.

The fact is, there are an infinite amount of ideas in fantasy. The options are actually endless. As such, it actually kind of makes me disappointed when I see that some fantasy novels are so similar because there are SO MANY things that fantasy can touch on. As long as you have imagination, fantasy can never die out of lack of ideas. And there’s just something so wonderful about that. ❤ There’s just something so comforting knowing that no matter what, fantasy is there and ready for us to delve into. Does that sound crazy? Probably but humour me.

8. Gives us something to root for.

When it seems like there’s nothing left in real life that seems worth rooting for and you’re just dead and lost all motivation for anything, pick up a fantasy novel! More often than not you’ll find something you root for, whether it’s the characters, their cause, a romance, and who knows what else. Sometimes it’s just that hope and rooting for something (even if it’s fictional) that helps us feel good.

9. (Usually) crushes our emotions and kills us.

Only partially joking about the ‘kills us’ part. Usually I find that fantasy always has me so drained after reading because me emotions always go through such a roller-coaster. And is it just me, or does it seem like fantasy is the genre where cliffhangers are used most often?? And let me tell you, those are absolute deathhhh. Agh. And then I typically fall into this state of shock and hangover where I cannot do anything but just sit in awe of the book. So. I still love these books even though they turn me into such a mess? #logic

pyEOCvV
Me, pretty much? <.<

10. It’s fun!

So I may or may not be just out of steam for now and grasping at straws for the last one, but I do feel like this counts. Fantasy is fun. It’s enjoyable. One of the main reasons we read at all is for fun, and fantasy provides exactly that. Fun! And who doesn’t like that? It’s entertainment, guys. No matter what emotional havoc it caused and all the turmoil and tension we go through while reading it, it all shows just how easy it is to get hooked into a fantasy novel (well, any genre of novel really, but for the sake of this post I’m making it more specific). I’d be lying if I said that I don’t pick up fantasy novels for entertainment. 😉


Alright, so I think that’s it! I think I covered most of the important reasons why I love fantasy, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! I have been considering making a similar list like this for contemporary, feel free to let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in. What are your thoughts on this? Are you a fan of fantasy? Did I miss any other reasons? Or is fantasy not your thing? I’d love to know your thoughts! Feel free to leave a link to your own Top Ten Tuesday as well if you want. I’d love to stop by!

Enjoy your Tuesday, guys! Sending you lots of cake and chocolate. You’re welcome. ✌️ I know I need it! (Who doesn’t is the question.)

Analee 5

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

Hi everyone! Does anyone happen to have some chocolate on hand? Because we must celebrate!! Why, you ask? THIS BOOK, is why. (!!!!!!!!!—yes, let us put ALL the exclamation points) This book is so amazingly amazing and I’m asking myself why I waited so long to read it??! So many people have been screeching in my ear to read this, and I’m so thankful I finally did!! If I had missed out on this book… I don’t even want to think about that because it would be too terrible.

Alright, for further rambling fangirling nonsense detail, read on!

A Darker Shade of MagicA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

5 Stars

Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adult
Series Status: Shades of Magic #1
Page Count: 398
Source & Format: Owned, ebook + Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

Add to Goodreads Icon

Erm, I might have to warn you here; I probably will not make any sense whatsoever—but then again, what else is new, right?? I don’t even know how to form proper words right now, ahem. So I’m going to be a list-but-not-really-type review–and hope it makes sense. Here we go!

A Darker Shade of Magic book review

Reasons why you should read ADSOM

  • So much blood. And stabbing! And many near-deaths, might I add. (Notice how this is the first thing I mention, aha I’m totally not crazy or psychotic, psh.) Though, I must say. It. Was. AWESOME. I mean, tension! Conflict! Danger! So much was going on, and then in the midst of it, of course you had to have some blood and, of course, stabbing (omg so much stabbing). I don’t think the descriptions were too graphic, though, so if you’re easily squeamish about these things, you should probably be fine.. then again, I read all of this so quickly I probably didn’t bat and eye so I guess I’m not the best consultant for that. But still. You should be fine. Point is: there was no holding back on the pain in this book! If that’s something you don’t mind, well, this is perfect.
  • The world is made of ALTERNATE LONDONS. That is Analee-approved right there. If you didn’t know already, I’m kind of mildly obsessed with London?? Or England in general, but LONDON. ❤ And so a book where we have alternate Londons is.. simply perfect? (Though tbh it could’ve been ANY country that isn’t in North America and I would’ve been fine–erm, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of different countries so.)
  • Which brings me to how the world-building was so perfectly perfect. Or maybe that’s just me blinded by how amazing this book was, but really, apart from the few parts where I was kind of lost as to how it all worked (which was mostly my fault for being slow at grasping things, I think), the world in this book was so intricate and so finely done. Eep, my praise is endless. It was just so easy to fall into this world V.E. Schwab created, and I loved it.
  • KELL. My love. Not to mention HIS COAT, omg it’s so fabulous. XD I want one! Ah, yes, right, we were talking about Kell. Right. Kell is just as fabulous, of course! Such a great mix of the tragic, gloomy hero-yet-not, as well as very flawed, but so lovable. Oh, and his comebacks were just on point? Three cheers for sass, guys! It was so easy for me to love his character, eep.
  • Lila will most probably become one of your favourite characters? Maybe. I mean, I can’t say this was the case for me exactly (I did like her, don’t get me wrong, but it took me some time to warm up to her? More on that below.) but she had so many of the characteristics I (and most other people) love, so yay! (Erm, I doubt I’ve ever came across a thief with aspirations of being a pirate, sooo.)
  • Rhy: Charming. dashing and sassy, all in one! I loved Rhy, really. I only wish he appeared more in the story! I loved his and Kell’s brotherly relationship and his character. ❤
  • Holland was just such a well-written character! He did such terrible things and I hated him, but at the same time I found myself sympathizing with him? Ah, the conflict. Morally ambiguous characters are the best aha.
  • SO MUCH SASS. From Kell and Lila, but also from other characters too—and it was amazing. 😀 I had so much fun reading the banter and all the snarky comebacks tossed back and forth!
  • The magical coat (with lots of sides and pockets) is soo perfect. It was literally making me jealous. I want ittttttt (yes, I know I already said that before). And yes, that’s a valid reason as to why you should read this book. Because of a magical coat, yep. Why are you questioning this?
  • The writing was SO PERFECT. Concise and specific yet detailed—and not info-dumpy whatsoever (or if it was, it sure didn’t feel like it).  The descriptions, the world, everything seemed to come alive due to the fantastic writing, so I LOVE IT. Definitely making me want to pick up more of Victoria Schwab’s novels! ❤

The itty-bitty-little things you might want to be aware of

  • It takes a while to really get the story in motion. I don’t blame it, and truthfully it didn’t bother me that much because I hardly noticed, but depending on the type of reader you are, you might get impatient with the pace of the story! I assure you, it’s totally worth it to keep going with the novel, because it progresses really quickly once you get into the story.
  • Lila, although a good character, wasn’t someone I loved right away. I wasn’t the biggest fan of her at first? I mean, she’s totally a character I tend to enjoy (sass? check. stubborn? check. rebel?–well, thief, actually–check.) but it actually took me some time to actually like her? At best I tolerated her during the first few parts. The thing is, I can’t even pinpoint what made me feel this way? Argh. But like I mentioned above, I warmed up to her well enough by the end of the book. So that’s good!
  • Rhy doesn’t get as much spotlight as I wished. 😦 I loved his character and he did appear many times, but it didn’t feel like that much? Or at least not as much as I would’ve liked. I dunno. Maybe that’s just me. I just wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him, haha.

Overall…

This book is completely worth your time and commitment, I tell you. The hype around this one most definitely did not disappoint (for me, at least) and I’m 98% sure that most people would agree with me when I say this book is amazing. Great writing, great world, lots of stabbing, amazing characters and lots of sass–what more could you ask for, am I right? So better go gobble this up soon if you haven’t already! 😉


Umm, I think that’s it?? Basically, I loved this book. It was just so good. (Again, we must get chocolate to celebrate this amazing novel!) It had so many amazing components to it that I loved, and I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a fantasy novel with great world-building and amazing writing (and everything else, really)!

I’m kind of sad I didn’t read this sooner, but I’m kind of glad because now I have the chance to go straight away to A Gathering of Shadows! I would’ve started it already, but I wanted to write up my review of the first book before I read it, so now that I’ve done that, I will most definitely be continuing with AGOS. So excited!

Alright, now tell me what YOU think! Have you read this book? What did you love? What did you dislike? Am I the only one who liked the stabbing? XD And I sure hope I’m not the only one who took time warming up to Lila, aha. Oh, and would anyone like to give me a magical multi-sided coat? Seriously, someone needs to make this happen. I’d totally buy one. If you haven’t read this book yet, let me know what you think! Do you plan on reading it? What are you looking forward to the most? Is there other London-obsessed people out there? (If so, you should definitely read this book. Just sayin’.) Leave your thoughts below, I’d love to chat! ❤
Until the Next Meal, Analee

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard | Book Review

Red QueenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard

4 stars - Entertainment Rating

Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult
Series Status: Red Queen #1
Page Count: 383
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

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Hype, hype, and MORE hype, galore!! If you guys haven’t heard of this book yet, you must’ve been living under a rock, for this book has been EVERYWHERE since it’s release. No joke. So naturally, my interest was piqued! I had meant to read this when it was released, but somehow never got around to it until September last year. Oops! Better late than never, right? The sequel to this is being released this February, so I figured I should probably do my review on the first book before I read it. 😉 So without further ado, my review on Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard!

Red Queen book review

Okay, so, I’m going to be trying out a kind of mixed reviewing style for this one: a list and my rambles, all in one! If you’re looking for the lowdown, and most general form of the things I liked/disliked, just reading the list below should suit you. I have a lot of thoughts on this—both positive and negative, so just bear with me! Feel free to skip to the overall part if you want—I won’t mind, LOL. Even I can admit this review is really long! XD

Red Queen Review Pros and Cons List

Plot

Two words; déja vue. Because yes, I won’t lie, there are indeed several elements in this book which have been seen and used before in other books. If you’ve read The Hunger Games or The Selection, when reading this book, you could probably notice the similarities. I’ve also seen comparisons to Red Rising, but as I have not read that yet, I can’t really judge.

BUT I DIGRESS.

Did the familiar tropes used in this book bother ME, personally? Well, I still enjoyed the book, but I must admit that I had been hoping RQ would manage to stand out on its own, be unique under the mesh of common tropes. From that perspective, my expectations weren’t completely fulfilled.

Having said that, I did still thoroughly enjoy the world of Red Queen. Although perhaps not fully unique in terms of themes and messages (a battle between social standings of rich and poor, tension, threat of rebellion, etc.) Red Queen had a premise/concept that I loved; the idea of Reds and Silvers. I do wish there was more backstory included about them, but for now, I’m hoping some unanswered questions will be answered in the next book.

As for the world-building, it isn’t in-your-face obvious, I’ll give you that. It does go at more of slower pace, and through various descriptions and events, you get the gist of it. I really enjoyed it! In addition to that, the plot as a whole was great to read. Plot twists, suspense, intrigue. Even though the pacing can be slow at times (especially the beginning), it really built up the to final moments of the story.

Anyone can betray anyone.

Speaking of plot twists and final moments, I must mention this: The final plot twist was mind-blowing—even though now looking back I can see the signs. It’s funny, because while reading, there was this part where I was thinking “What if the bad guy ends up being [name of bad guy which I will not write for sake of no spoilers]?” And I dismissed it–probably ’cause I didn’t want to believe it. But then I got to the end and I was kind of in a state of shock! Like noooooooo…!

Okay, NOW I’m definitely rambling. You get what I’m saying here though, right? Moving on to…

Characters

I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.

In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.

The characters are definitely one of the hit or miss parts of Red Queen. You either like the characters, or you don’t. I, for one, have to say that I liked them well enough, for the most part. 

Let’s start with the good, shall we? I know several readers complained about Mare, but I must say that I found her to be a pretty good character. She has the typical characteristics of most female protagonists these days; strong, reckless and sassy, yes, but she still managed to be a bit realistic and someone I could root for. She made some terrible decisions at times, and her emotions were all over the place in several spots, but at the end of the day, she was a good character.

BUT. She didn’t really go through any major development by the end of the novel… so don’t go in expecting some major changes! I also wasn’t a huge fan of her flitting and bipolar-like feelings over the love interests in this book. One minute she’s trying to convince herself the guy is good, the other minute she’s 100% sure he’s evil. Make up your mind!! It’s what caused me the most trouble, trying to figure out what MY opinion was. Lol.

Apart from her, there’s of course, the two princes; Cal and Maven. I have to say I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cal for a pretty long time throughout the story… although I’m not sure whether that’s because of his character, Mare’s feelings or just MY feelings on Maven clouding my opinion. 😉 I don’t know, I respect him and he was fine and everything, but he just didn’t sit right with me for a good chunk of the story.

Maven, on the other hand, I found to be so interesting! I suppose I liked him more than Cal for a lot of the story, but that’s not just it. His character just seems so layered and complex! I could empathize with him, yet I could… gah, it’s hard to express how I feel without giving away spoilers. XD Let’s just leave it at the fact that he’s layered and a very intriguing character!

A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they’ve written a tragedy.

Also, an important fact you might want to note before entering the realm of this book; There IS a love triangle—though it’s more of a love rectangle or a everyone-loves-Mare thing. To be honest it’s not that aspect of it that bothered me the most; it’s more the fact that Mare’s feelings were so inconsistent sometimes, it just didn’t feel like there was enough depth to all the relationships. But maybe that’s just me. One good thing though, is that the romance didn’t FULLY dominate the plot. Yes, it did take up a good part of it, but it’s not the extent of what this book’s all about! (To me, anyway. I know some people feel differently.)

Writing Style

The sparks are gone, replaced by fierce, ugly tears that track down my face. Thunder rumbles somewhere far off and the air is warm. But the humid temperature is gone. The heat has broken and summer will soon be over. Time is passing. My life is moving on, no matter how much I want it to stay the same.

Despite being simple and straight-forward, Victoria Aveyard’s writing managed to really hook me in. I loved how vivid and descriptive the style was, without being too over-the-top. Sometimes simplicity beats flowery prose, you know? The narration, everything, was suited to the mood of the story and was super easy to read.

However, there is a little thing that perhaps won’t bother everyone, but did occasionally get on my nerves. At times, there was a bit too much repetition. I understand now that it’s to emphasize and foreshadow, in a way, of what was to come, but it still was a tad bothersome. I don’t know. Personal preference, I guess.

Overall

Red Queen, although not without flaws, is still an entertaining novel. Depending on your taste, if you like fantasy and/or dystopian novels, this one is a good pick for you! Here’s a little recap of what you should know and how I felt about this book:

  • This book won’t be the most original one out there. Readers of The Hunger Games, The Selection and/or (supposedly) Red Rising might enjoy this book for the similarities—or might dislike this book because of the similarities. It kind of depends on your personal taste!
  • The plot is relatively entertaining (though it is unnecessarily dragged out at times). Despite having similar elements to other storylines, the plot in Red Queen is quite intriguing and suspenseful to read! The world of Red and Silver was interesting and a cool concept to read about—though don’t expect the best backstory for it.
  • Characters like Mare, Cal and/or Maven are subjected to personal preference, but I liked them okay. Mare is a strong, albeit reckless and naive at times, female character who I was able to root for despite the reasons why I might’ve been tempted not to.
  • The writing style is simple but engaging and descriptive. I had no problem with the writing in this book! It was easy to read and suited the story. There was a bit too much repetition of words and expressions sometimes, but I credit that problem more to my own self and the plot.

Funny, how all that rambling that I did before the overall part was summed up so easily here! LOL.

So, the real question here that I’m sure you’re all wondering: Should you read it? From a critical view, I’ll admit this isn’t the best book, but from an entertainment perspective, it definitely isn’t the worst book out there–it’s quite good, actually! If you’ve taken into account all the above info, and think it’s a good fit for you, I don’t see why you shouldn’t read Red Queen! If you go in with lowered expectations, you should be fine. (Or so I hope!) I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on Glass Sword, the sequel, if only to see what will happen next! ❤


Now, it’s time to talk! What did you think of Red Queen? What parts did you like/dislike the most? Also; how do you feel about having themes and tropes from other books being included in another book? Are you planning on continuing the series, or are you quitting? Do you want to read this book? Let me know whatever thoughts you may have below!

Thank you for reading (even if you didn’t read the whole thing :P) and Happy Monday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan | Book Review

The Sword of SummerThe Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

4 stars

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Disney – Hyperion Books
Genre(s): Fantasy, Humor, Young-Adult
Series Status: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1
Page Count: 491
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

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Hello bookworms! In an attempt to stay on top of my reviews for this year (not going so good right now, but oh well) I’m here today with a review on the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan, which I completed not too long ago. 🙂

Rick Riordan has been one of my favourite authors since I was very young. I read his whole Percy Jackson series as well as his Heroes of Olympus series AND the Kane Chronicles, and have been eagerly anticipating whichever book he publishes next. For 2015, The Sword of Summer became the book I anticipated, and I finally got around to reading it.

In a sentence, the best way to describe The Sword of Summer is to say it’s filled with humour, action and mythology; a great start to a brand new Riordan series. Truthfully I’m finding it kind of hard to think of a way to describe this book in my usual reviewing fashion, so I’ll make it easier on myself and you guys by giving you guys 4 reasons why you should read this book! (And a few things to keep in mind before/while you do.)

The Sword of Summer Book Review

1. It’s funny.

Okay, not like, thigh-slapping funny, but it’s funny. It’s just simply FUN to read. And fun is good. In classic Riordan style, there were sarcastic comments and sassy comebacks; what more could I ask for? I found myself smiling and chuckling at several points throughout the story, and it was great in between the bouts of action and everything. Magnus’ character was definitely one of story’s biggest providers of humor, which was great as he’s our protagonist. 😉 His snark and commentary, although not exactly refreshing, was familiar and fun to read!

OH, AND. I can’t forget to mention the chapter titles—definitely one of my favorite parts!! From things like Let’s play frisbee with bladed weapons to A Lovely Homicidal Sunset Cruise, the chapter titles always brought a smile. They are fabulous. Read the book and you will understand..!

2. Adventure and lots of near-death galore…

YOU MUST DIE. Just kidding, I love you. But that’s kind of how things went in The Sword of Summer (the ‘you must die part, that is)…only half joking, haha. Because again, in classic Riordan style, there was lots of adventure (OF COURSE.) and many, many, MANY near-death experiences. (And some may or may not have been a near-death, without the ‘near’, if you know what I mean.) So, basically it was almost non-stop action, and was terribly addicting. I finished this within a day of starting it! #sorrynotsorry

3. Yay for fun characters and diversity!

Magnus was fabulous. Of course, with a name like Magnus, how could he not be? 😛 Though I have to say Magnus’s voice DID remind me of Percy’s. A lot. I probably wouldn’t be able to discern the two if they both were to talk. :/ BUT when it comes down to it, they’re both pretty different—and it was a small factor because it didn’t really bother me AS much overall.

Samirah (the female MC) was great too, though she reminded me of Annabeth. AGH, I KNOW, it sucks, but I can’t help but compare, especially when their characters are so similar. Hot-headed? Check. Generally more smarter than Percy Magnus? Check. But despite these similarities, I enjoyed her character anyway.

A few things I appreciated about her : 1) she’s Muslim (though not sure yet how she could be Muslim and still serve Norse gods..) 2) she’s in love with the guy she’s arranged to marry: There’s this idea that all arranged marriages are terrible and everything, so three cheers for Rick in taking a step to change that—’cause it’s not always the case and 3) Snark! Samirah wasn’t a fan of Magnus from the start, and it was lots of fun seeing her be snarky towards him (and most other people too). *ALSO: NO ROMANCE between her and Magnus. Quite rare to see a platonic boy-girl relationship these days, so yay!

Apart from Magnus and Samirah, I had the pleasure of the company of Blitz and Hearth! They’re both absolutely hilarious, and I loved them! Hearth also happens to be deaf–another cheer for diversity! Although I have to admit the fact that he is able to read lips perfectly is kind of doubtful, he still was a great addition to the cast of the novel.

4. Yum, mythology..!

As with the Percy Jackson series, The Sword of Summer put a fun spin on ancient mythology, this time going with Norse instead of Greek. Quirky, modernized Norse gods meant more humor while still giving us a Norse Ed. course.. so yay! I do realize that there’s no way for me to be sure whether the information in the book is 100% accurate, but at least I know more than just the names of Thor, Odin and Loki. (Is it just me who never knew a god named Frey even existed?!)

Things to keep in mind:

  • The plot isn’t anything especially new. If you’ve read a lot of Rick Riordan’s books, you know that they generally follow similar plot lines; characters go on a quest, they kill monsters, almost die, and fulfill quests. Generally. This is how it goes. And basically it’s how it went for this one..? Truthfully this didn’t bother me much at all, but it’s something to keep in mind, is all.
  • There ARE similarities between it and Percy Jackson (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing). Although it can bother me when another series by the same author copies things from their other series (like Reawakened by Colleen Houck), in this situation it wasn’t that bad since there was so many other things that I enjoyed. It depends on the person, though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😛
  • This book is marketed as YA, but I’m warning you: this book will probably seem more juvenile. This didn’t particularly bother me personally, but I did notice it and I know several readers complained about this, so I’m going to mention it here. Do try to remember that a lot of, or at least some of Magnus Chase’s readers will be readers who are coming from the Percy Jackson series, which means this book should be suitable for younger readers as well as more older readers. No matter what is the case, this book will probably be enjoyable either way! 😉
  • It’s REALLY LONG. This is the one thing that actually did kind of bother me, or, crossed my mind more than just 10 seconds. Some parts of the book just seemed unnecessary? That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy those parts; I did, but it just could’ve been shortened, that’s all.

Have you devoured this book yet?? If you have, tell me!! 🙂 I’m always looking to fangirl with someone, LOL. (If you want, you can even check out this book trailer of it too!) If you haven’t read this book yet, do you plan to? Let me know your expectations, your hopes! What are you looking forward to the most? Or on a bigger scale; how do you feel about books similar to other books? Does it taint your enjoyment of a novel? Let me know whatever thoughts you may have below!

Happy Monday, everyone! ❤

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch | Book Review

Snow Like AshesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

4.5 Stars= Amazing

Publication Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult
Series Status: Snow Like Ashes #1
Page Count: 416
Source & Format: Bought, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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Ahem. Before we start can I please just stare at this book’s cover? Seriously, I love it so much. 😛

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on a book I recently re-read; Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. I first read this book way back at the beginning of 2015, and with the release of the second book, I decided to re-read this book—and I don’t regret it one bit.

Reading Snow Like Ashes the first time was a magical experience, one that I loved and fell in love with, and re-reading it didn’t diminish that at all, if anything, just reminded me how awesome this book is. Seriously, I haven’t talked about this book enough on my blog, and I’m here to remedy that right now by giving you a feel-filled review on it! Be warned that may be a lot of rambling and fangirling. Of course, you’re all used to that by now, right?

Let’s get on with it!

Plot

Oktuber was a maze of rickety barns and tents in maroon, azure, and sunshine orange, with the crystalline blue sky gleaming above, a sharp and beautiful contrast to the kingdom’s earth tones. But it was the Autumnians themselves who left me gaping—they were beautiful.

Ahhhh the plot! Where do I even start? Well, the basics of course; I really loved the plot. I’m deducting half a star because the story did have a couple iffy not-so-stellar parts, and had several bouts of info-dumping which kind of left me confused for a while, but overall it was so well-written, I hardly could stop reading—and I already knew what was going to happen!

I also have to mention the plot twists were spot-on, I remember the first time I read this book I was able to guess at a few, but there were some that completely blew me away. I was so invested in the story! Sara Raasch has a beautiful mix of romance, action and the whole theme of self-discovery thing going on, and it made for a wonderful adventure.

As a side note, may I just say that the world-building was on point? Snow Like Ashes is set in a world centered around the four seasons. Already I’m like, how cool is that? It’s not often I see something like this, and Sara Raasch handled it with style. Although sometimes I was a bit lost with the various bouts of info-dumping at the start as I mentioned above, I caught on pretty quickly as the story went on and I fell in love with this world! Magic, kingdoms, seasons; what more could you ask for?

Characters

This is where the fangirling really comes in, guys. Not only can the main character, Meira, completely kick-butt, there were so many other characters who interested me and brought out all the emotions.

“I wanted a life of my own, a life where I could feel myself being a part of Winter. And that, to me, came though fighting for it.”

You go, girl! Meira, as I said, can completely kick-butt. Not only that, she is simply so awesome. I empathized so much with her heartbreaking tale of wanting to be herself and have a place in Winter’s kingdom, to make an impact. I understood her struggle of fighting to get Sir’s approval, needing it yet not wanting to need it. I admired her perseverance in the face of challenges and the weight of others. She reminded me so much of Celaena from Throne of Glass… yet not. They’re both really similar but still both different. Of course, I love them both!

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”

Although there is also romance in the novel, Meira’s goals came first. Her fight to stay true to herself is was what took dominance, and that was wonderfully portrayed. Fear not, of course, there is definitely romance, but I loved how it didn’t take up the whole thing.

Moving on to Mather, another one of our characters and one of Meira’s love interests. Yes, one of. There is a love triangle in this book, one that I will happily say I didn’t mind. Mather was a really interesting character, and I really liked Mather’s and Meira’s relationship. Kind of a forbidden love thing theme going on, except the love is not openly acknowledged. However, there is a certain someone I’m kind of leaning towards as well…

Theron is the name of our second love interest! It’s not insta-love, and it’s not even full-out love between him and Meira, but there are definitely sparks and I really love his character!! *Swoon* He understands Meira so well (not that Mather doesn’t, but you know what I mean) and his ambitions and dreams really made him into someone I love. Currently I’m loving both him and Mather so much; I just can’t wait to see more of them in the next book.

Last, but not least, a little insight on the other characters; Sara Raasch sure knows how to have your emotions in a twist! My thoughts on Sir must’ve changed a thousand times, from angry, to confused, to frustrated to understanding, and that’s without counting the other characters! There was a variety of people we meet throughout the course of this book, who make reading this book a thrilling experience.

Writing Style

“One flake falls, twisting down through the empty sky. One frozen speck of snow. Then another, and another, and before I know it the roads will be covered in dozens of distinct flakes. All these little pieces combining to create one giant, volatile snowstorm, something beautiful and dangerous and epic.”

The writing was simply fantabulous! It allowed the readers to create vivid and clear images in our heads of this world we’re in, and I simply fell in love. Reading it for the second time only re-introduced me to this beautiful writing! Even through the info-dumping I mentioned above, the writing made it so it wasn’t too confusing, even if a few things flew over my head. Also, there was no cliffhanger in this book, which in itself is pretty rare these days. (Not that I begrudge authors using cliffhangers—you have to admit, they’re pretty handy!) The ending was written perfectly, wrapped up enough to have me satisfied, but not too much so that I’m no longer interested in continuing the story. (And let’s be real here, given how much I loved this book, even if the ending was terrible, I would definitely not abandon this series!)

Overall…

Go read this. Now. Especially if you like fantasy! Or Sarah J. Maas‘s books! Or anything magical and amazing! I can almost 100% assure you that you will love this book. There are themes of being true to yourself and persevering in times of difficulty. There is a world full of magic and beautiful descriptions. There are characters you will fall in love with. All in all, a must-read! I can’t stress enough how much you should go pick this up. 🙂

A little wrap-up of everything I’ve said:

  • the story is addicting
  • the world-building is amazing
  • Meira is a wonderful character with spunk and personality
  • Mather and Theron are both great love interests and characters
  • the writing was engaging and full of beautiful descriptions

So, the final question. Do I recommend this? That’s a big YES from me!!


Discussion time! What do you think of this novel? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What expectations do you have for it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Reawakened by Colleen Houck | Book Review

ReawakenedReawakened by Colleen Houck

3 Stars

Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Fantasy (Mythology), Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: The Reawakened #1
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Bought, Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

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Greetings! As I’m sure all of you have realised by now, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Reawakened by Colleen Houck for you today. No spoilers, as always, but I’m warning you, there will be some rambling! If you’re in a hurry and simply want to know the overall idea of my thoughts, feel free to skip to the ‘overall’ part at the bottom. ❤ I won’t be offended! 😛

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


Plot

This story goes through as what I’ve saw several people call the “White Savior” syndrome. I know lots of people have hated on this book because of this fact, and although this was something my mind registers, it didn’t really bother me. Sure, the main character is white and she has to help Egyptian demigods to help save the world, and yes, this is a lot like Tiger’s Curse, but that’s all I though about. I didn’t really care.

But anyway. Just wanted to put that out there. Moving on, looking at it from a critical perspective, the plot was okay. I mean, there was a bit too much info-dumping for my taste and a lot of the events felt unnecessary and weren’t memorable. I think one of the reasons the plot felt a bit weak to me because even though it had different events, the outline of it all felt very familiar (especially due to the characters), similar to the outline of Tiger’s Curse. Although I enjoyed Tiger’s Curse when I first read it (a while ago), I was hoping for more of a unique situation when it came to this novel, which wasn’t fully delivered.

From an entertainment perspective, I wasn’t a big fan of the beginning, but the pace picked up from there, and after that it was relatively easy to get swept away into the story. It was fun to read about, with all the mythology and magic, etc. I can’t say whether I liked how the mythology was portrayed, considering how a lot of it flew over my head due to the info-dumping, and I can’t vouch for whether the mythology was portrayed accurately, but I can say for sure that it was pretty entertaining to read.

Characters

“Even though I was very picky, wore only designer clothes, and has a monthly allowance bigger than what most people my age earned in a year, I was by no means a snob.”

Yep, this quote above is legit something the main character, Lilliana said. I didn’t like her. No sugar-coating here! Honestly, she didn’t bother me as much at first, but afterwards I simply couldn’t stand her—something that’s pretty unusual for me. Now, just looking at some things she said, I’m wondering how I was able to go through this novel without cringing.

Although she had potential to be a character I’d like, Lilliana’s character fell flat due to her Mary Sue qualities and inconsistency in personality. (Mary Sue, by the way, is the kind of character who is basically perfect, in our case; amazing grades, rich, a perfect good girl, who is absolutely gorgeous.)

Having said that, I’ve read enough Mary Sue-esque characters to usually be immune to the annoyances of those qualities, and be able to simply enjoy the character. What changed for this book is the fact that I’ve already seen this persona in Kelsey from Tiger’s Curse, and I simply am not in the mood to have to go through another copy of this.

In addition to that, she constantly contradicts everything she previously said, and that inconsistency really bothered me. In the very first chapter, I clearly recollect her mention that she prefers independence because of how stifling her parents can be, however time and time again she proves otherwise when she hardly shows any free will and goes along with Amon’s plans. Geez, grow a backbone and some personality, Lilliana! 

Before I rant and ramble some more, let’s move on to Amon, the secondary main character. I definitely ended up liking him a lot more than Lilliana, although this wasn’t the case at first. I’m pretty used to reading about stalker-ish guys (I’ve read several books with them, at least) but in this case I wasn’t a huge fan of Amon’s actions in the beginning of the book. He basically kidnaps Lilliana’s life force, or at least, invades it, uses it, without her consent, and then when she tries to run away, he follows her! Not flattering, Amon, not flattering. Although this remained in the back of my mind for a lot of the novel, I was able to let go of this, and enjoyed his character well enough. He was sweet and it was lots of fun reading about how he tried to get used to everything in the modern world. Amon definitely has potential (though he doesn’t deserve someone like Lilliana) and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how it all turns out with him!

Writing Style

“Eternity is a long time to exist without something to remember.”

The novel was all told from Lilliana’s perspective, if I’m not mistaken, which, I will admit, limited my liking of the writing. Lilliana’s character just simply grated on my nerves, and although I’d usually commend authors for having their character’s voice so clearly in the writing, it bothered me here. Apart from that, it was easy to read (aside from the info-dumping sections) and I don’t really have any complaints about it! I did notice that it really developed from the Tiger’s Curse style; you can tell that Houck really improved her writing, which was already really good in her previous series. 😉

Overall…

I’m deciding to go with a rating of 3 stars. I mean, I enjoyed the novel while reading, but it had too many flaws for me to give a higher rating. Note that I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. Perhaps if I had been writing my review immediately after I read the book, maybe my rating might be higher, but it wouldn’t be accurate considering how the more I think of the book, the more I’m able to find more flaws that I realize I didn’t like in the book. My main problems were stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters, specifically Lilliana, and too much of the story’s outline reminded me of Tiger’s Curse. That being said, I will definitely give a shot to the second book in this series.

Do I recommend picking it up? I think, if you’re really interested, your safest bet would be to borrow from the library or from a friend, but with this kind of book, I’d say it’s up to you whether or not you should read it!


So there we have it! Sorry for that long review, everyone!! XD Got a litle bit too much rambling done in there.

But don’t let it go all in vain! Tell me, have you read this novel? If so what did you think of it? Do you want to read it? Do you no longer want to read it? Let me know in the comments below! ❤

Enjoy your day! Hugs!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 12th 2015

Synopsis:

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


The Ugly Stepsister_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Genre(s): Young-adult, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Page Count: 452

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, an awesome Cinderella fairytale retelling. It is honestly one of the best and one of the most unique retellings I have ever read, and I loved it. After all those fairytale retellings out there, you’d think that there aren’t many new ideas out there, but this book definitely throws those notions out of the water.

Quick Summary

Kat is your resident bookworm who loves to read (obviously). One day, while cleaning her attic, she accidentally rips an old Cinderella fairytale book and is transported inside the story, where she is told that she is required to complete the story in order to get back home. Thing is, Kat isn’t Cinderella. Nope, she’s the ugly stepsister, named Katriona Bradshaw. She must get the prince to fall in love with Cinderella… but problems arise when she starts to fall in love with the prince herself.

Plot

Ahh this plot was simply wonderful! It was full of twists and turns that I loved and couldn’t get enough of. The pacing was fast, and I loved how everything fit together so nicely. There was the main plot (Kat trying to get the prince and Cinderella together so she could go home to where she belongs) and then there were various subplots, other things that happened along the way that made the storyline even stronger. The plot of the novel is just so unique in itself, it was double the fun in reading the book and trying to guess at what might happen.

The only thing I have to say is that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I totally understood why the author had to make it that way, but I couldn’t—still can’t—fully accept it. That being said, it’s a pretty bitter-sweet kind of ending and not exactly what I was hoping for, but the rest of the story still makes it worth reading. The journey more than the destination, you know? And it isn’t terrible ending, it’s quite subjective really. Overall, the plot was totally unique and an awesome adventure!

Characters

“Books open new worlds to me.”

Let’s move on to the characters. Kat, the protagonist, was amazing. Not only was she a totally awesome bookworm, she seemed realistic and it was just lots of fun seeing her attempt to adjust in a new world, and so easy to relate to her as she struggled to do so. I could also totally see a lot of my bookworm tendencies in her and that was a wonderful touch.

“Okay Kat. This is Story World, for heaven’s sake, so get a grip on yourself. You’ve no business drooling over storybook characters.”

Replace Kat with Analee and that’s basically what I have to tell myself whenever I’m transported into a wonderful story and fall in love with the characters. (AKA, all the time!) 😉

Apart from Kat’s general relatability and bookishness, I loved her development. From a shy but likeable and kind of awkward bibliophile, she becomes a strong, independant and confident female character who I not only liked, but admired. She becomes more outspoken, and more sure of herself, and I loved seeing that in her.

I also really liked the love interest, the prince, Edward. But, I won’t lie, not as much as I did Kat. But that didn’t make him a bad character. He liked to read and owned a huge library which he allowed Kat to use (which reminded me a lot of Dorian from Throne of Glass, lol.) He’s a really good person, but at first, I really had trouble getting the image of the Edward from Twilight out of my head. I mean, come on, I’m sure all of you reading this right now was thinking about it. I don’t hate Edward by any means, but I really didn’t want to associate this character with him, for which reason I’m glad that I was able to identify him as his own person later on in the book.

And although there are some similarities between the two (mainly the temper) I really liked seeing how the story wasn’t affected that much by it. He was caring and a really sweet guy, who I think I kind of fell for by the end of the book. 🙂 The romance between him and Kat was quite cute and well balanced; just enough of it to keep readers satisfied and wanting more at the same time. So, basically, I’m trying to say although there are similarities between this Edward and Twilight’s Edward, they’re not too many and overall I really liked him.

There are several secondary characters in this, but there isn’t much to say about them since we don’t get too much of them in-depth since the story is told mostly from Kat’s 1st person POV, which didn’t leave much space for other characters to be as developed as her and Edward. I did really like Henry and Elle (Cinderella) though, who both play important roles in the book and are quite nice.

Writing Style

The writing style is perfect for this story! The writing really reflected both Kat’s humor and personality, which was lots of fun to read. It was fast paced to reflect the pace of the story, but it wasn’t too rushed and was simple but still very significant and beautiful.

Overall…

This is a book you definitely can’t miss if you like fairytale retellings—and unique ones at that! I haven’t read all the Cinderella fairytale retellings out there, but this one is definitely unlike most of them out there, in a good way. I mean, how many times have you read a retelling told from the POV of the ugly stepsister? And although this book didn’t follow the original fairytale that much, it was totally able to pull off a fresh concept wonderfully. Though the ending is quite subjective, the plot itself is full of twists and turns and a great story with a cute romance. The main character Kat is relatable and a wonderful person who goes through a lot of development—which is great. Edward, the love interest, is quite sweet and likeable, and not a replica of Edward from Twilight, fortunately. (Although if you have a major hate thing going on with Edward, I suggest you proceed with caution.) The writing style is also spot-on for this story and I loved it! All in all, this book was fantastic and I really liked it. I imagine you would too if you like retellings and romance—but we’d never know if you don’t try! I definitely recommend you give this book a shot.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought! And even if you haven’t, I’d love to know what you think of this book; want to read or not interested? Have you read any retellings told from the POV of the stepsister? (‘Cause I honestly would love to know! :P)

A tasty meal for sure! Gobble it up. 

Analee 10

 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley | Book Review

(Magonia #1)

Published: April 28th 2015

Synopsis:

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-adult

Page Count: 320

Format I Own: Hardcover & ebook


Hello! Today I have a review on Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. I finally read this book, as part of a Goodreads read-along (hosted by The Book Club of Opinionated Hufflepuffs). I finished this book pretty quickly, considering it was 320 pages, which I translate to: addictive! After reading it, I will admit that I was quite conflicted, but I’ve finally sorted out my thoughts to say that I liked it. In the end I would say this book deserves a solid 3.5 stars. And I’m so happy about that! This book seemed like such a book, and although it wasn’t quite what I expected, it was still enjoyable and I’m interested in seeing what the second book will be like.

Quick Summary

Aza was always going to die. She’s literally choking on thin air, and the doctors all predicted she would die. When Aza sees a ship in the sky, calling out to her, everyone thinks it’s simply a hallucination, except her best friend Jason. But then one day Aza wakes up, stronger than ever to find that she’s crucial to the survival of a whole new world—Magonia. Will Aza be able to let go of the people she loves on Earth to do what she need to do?Read More »

Zaria Fierce & the Secret of Gloomswood Forest by Keira Gillett | Book Review

(Zaria Fierce Trilogy #1)

Published: March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Keira Gillett

Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy

Pade Count: 224

Format: E-book


This book was used for the Popsugar challenge: A book set in a place you always wanted to visit.

Note: I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hi! I have another review for y’all, this time on Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomswood Forest by Keira Gillett, in case you haven’t already figured that out. It’s a middle-grade fantasy novel with a great plot and writing style! The characters were also very interesting. All in all, a solid 4 stars.

Quick Summary

13 year-old Zaria Fierce has always loved to read fantasy novels. Fantasy becomes reality when she meets a river troll, Olaf, who she finds to have taken her best friend Cristoffer. In order to get him back, she agrees on a risky deal to get him back, and she and her friends set off.Read More »